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Erick Green named ACC men's basketball player of the year
Green leads the nation in scoring with an average of 25.4 points. No ACC player since the 1950s has finished the season as the nation's scoring leader.
Virginia Tech Hokies guard Erick Green (11) goes up for a shot during the second half at The Hank McCamish Pavilion. Virginia Tech defeated Georgia Tech 70-65 in overtime.
Miami's Shane Larkin (left) tries to steal the ball from Virginia Tech's Erick Green during their Wednesday night game in Coral Gables, Fla.
Duke's Mason Plumlee (5) tries to block Virginia Tech's Erick Green (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Blacksburg, Va.
Virginia Tech guard Erick Green (11) returns to the locker room for the last time in his college career. Green scored 29 points on Senior Night as Cassell Coliseum.
Daniel Lin | Special to The Roanoke Times Virginia Tech guard Erick Green (11) takes a shot during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, February 09, 2013. Green shot 4 for 9 during the first half. Photo by Daniel Lin and shot on 02/09/2013.
MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times Erick Green (11) of Virginia Tech shoots a free throw in the final seconds of the Virginia Tech - University of Maryland basketball game in Blacksburg Virginia Thursday February 7 2013. Green scored a game high 29 points but Maryland won the game 60-55. (AP Photo / The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Erick Green's team has not pulled off many upsets this season, but Green pulled off a big one Tuesday.
The Virginia Tech senior point guard was named the ACC men's basketball player of the year in voting by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Green, the nation's scoring leader, became the first player from a last-place team to win that ACC honor. He also became the first player on a team with a losing overall record to win that award.
"I'm speechless," a surprised Green said Tuesday. "This is a dream come true for me, man, since I was a little kid. This is something big for me."
Although Green was one of the leading contenders to win the award, he was hardly a heavy favorite because of his team's record of 13-18, 4-14.
The other top candidates were Shane Larkin, who helped Miami win the ACC regular-season title, and Mason Plumlee, who helped Duke finish in second place. Each plays for a top-10 team.
But 38 of the 76 people who voted for the award opted for Green. Larkin was second with 23 votes and Plumlee was third with 12.
Larkin is averaging 13.7 points, 4.4 assists and 2.0 steals. Plumlee is averaging 17.2 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Green, who made the All-ACC first team Monday, got on his knees and said a prayer about the player of the year award Monday night.
"Before I went to bed, I just wanted to say hopefully I would win it and that'd be a dream come true for me and I could cross that thing off of my wall [on a list of goals] I put up, to win ACC player of the year," Green said.
Green became only the second player on a team with a losing ACC record to be named player of the year. The late Len Bias of Maryland won the award in 1986 despite Maryland's 6-8 league record. But Bias' team did have a winning overall record and wound up in the NCAA tournament.
Green is averaging 25.4 points. He has a comfortable lead over Creighton's Doug McDermott, who ranks second nationally with an average of 23.1 points, and Iona's Lamont Jones, who is third (23 ppg).
Green is poised to become the first ACC player to finish the season as the nation's scoring leader since Grady Wallace of then-ACC member South Carolina in 1956-57.
No one from one of the six major conferences has finished as the nation's scoring leader since Purdue's Glenn Robinson in 1993-94.
Making the All-ACC first team had been one of Green's preseason goals. Becoming ACC player of the year had been a goal since January.
What goal does he have left to accomplish?
"I would love to be an All-American," said Green, whose team will face North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament on Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum. "But I would also like to win this ACC championship. I still have a goal, it's still possible to make a run at the [NCAA] tournament. [Big South underdog] Liberty did it."
Green became the first player from a Virginia school to be named ACC player of the year since former UVa great Ralph Sampson won the award for the third time in 1983.
Not bad for someone who averaged 2.6 points and shot just 29.3 percent from the field as a Tech freshman. He did not even score a basket in 20 of his 31 games that season.
"It just shows all the hard work and sticking with it and just trying to stay positive has really paid off," Green said. "This has been a long journey. I would've never thought I'd have been ACC player of the year.
"I'm just so happy right now."
This season, Green is shooting 48.2 percent from the field. He has scored a school-record 786 points.
"What he's been able to do and how he's been able to do it, in a tough league with the defenses keying on him every game, ... very deserving," Tech coach James Johnson said of Green getting the award.
Green ranks first in the ACC in minutes (36.6 mpg), sixth in the ACC in assists (3.9 apg) and seventh in steals (1.4 spg).
He became only the third Hokie to win a league player of the year award. Dell Curry was the Metro Conference player of the year in 1986 and Bimbo Coles was the Metro co-player of the year in 1988.
Miami's Jim Larranaga was voted the ACC coach of the year, and Miami's Durand Scott was chosen the defensive player of the year. Boston College's Oliver Hanlan was voted rookie of the year.
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